Stones Overturned

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Turning over stones. Walking, turning over stones, a lucky find, some labyrinth of ants, sodden hollows, a world. Beneath feet, under the mallow and umbrella plants, beneath the thorny bulwark bramble, blackberries, thistle, sumac. Below the canopy, below the breath of Earth, below the stars. This small world exposed and sullen, enraged but benign. Drawn off cover and scurry. How small, how they swiftly slide.

To this moment I meant nothing to their realm. They endeavored in darkness, excavated, extracted earth to be put aside, in peace built a life and society. Built a world under stone and were happy to live beneath a weight they could not lift. Which I hefted. And became a character in their writing. That time, when the lid to the world was lifted. Deity? Maybe that’s what they say. If so, a confused or vengeful one. Since at least a part of their world still adhered to the bottom of the stone, I tried to lay it straight. I could not.

It was a puzzle I could not crack. I was puck, or some other meandering, adolescent god, blithely rearranging their passages. Was more troubled then I let on, rotating, grinding avenues in my gross maladjustments, trying to place the stone back in its shadow. I have no tender touch. I have a thousand enemies.

And they march, I know, in lines of uncountable legs. Fomented resolve they stand, bastion of self determination, piling higher in grams, ants, a writhing offensive stacking just beyond the swing of my front door. They march, and form, and wait. Asleep, I will dream of my victory; I will shower in the morning.

 

 

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Cleaves to an Edge

In the woods there are old things with rust on them. Some of them I recognize: a bolt, a bucket, a bent tricycle ingrown in a tree. Some are just curled shards shouting tetanus, or spiky whittled wire racks, the spent shell of a vending machine. There are things which look like machines though I do not understand them. Gears and tubs and shafts and blades and more gears and another tub, some mechanism of death which used to glide so smoothly with greased bearings and oiled joints. Or, it was a washing machine, to make the work of cleaning clothes more repetitive but effortless. The handles have come to worms, and the timeworn glass sparkles in the earth.

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My heart was a trillium, always of three parts. Was both new and old, and current. And came in May and wilted in June, in the new heat. Under the sun it was famished, parched, distressed, and so it sought the canopy of forest. As old as it was it stayed low, and blossomed once, briefly, each year. My heart was a trillium, protected but vulnerable.

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In the woods, there are old things. There are machines, now obsolete. There are the shards of dishes and containers, bottles and bowls and oil cans and barrels and plates and buckets piled on the side of a steep gorge at the edge of a field that meant everything, and everything below was invisible. There is trash in the woods and there are also old things, and the dirt once towered above to slowly let sun filter through, and it’s all been through the ravenous gut of fungi more than once. There are old things in the woods.

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I know now my heart is a bone. I know most hearts are muscles but mine is a bone that rattles at some minute fracture as it beats. It is bleached and soft where it touches the dirt, and is mostly intact; the marrow remains. It is brittle but it glows in the moon. And the lines it cleaves upon are long and straight; under the lightest tread it becomes an edge. My heart glows in the moon and is soft where it touches the dirt, and it cleaves to an edge.

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Wait

Swallow and wait. Howl. Bend time if you can but know that waiting is better. Bend time into a loop that hangs from your fingers like maple syrup. But waiting is better. Waiting is time travel in slow motion; howl at the moon in its pleasant stroll across the endless night, howl at the inchworm as it hallelujahs across your path, make note of the patterns of smoke in the dusk as it leaves your cambered lips. Wait. But bend time if you must.

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On the other side of time is what you want. You can see it clearly, despite it being so many rotations of the Earth away. You can see around the Earth, clearly, can see yourself, can see what you want. But you cannot see the time between. This is why we bend time. This is why we flatten our days so they are easier to travel. Why we snuff out moments inconsequential, send whole weeks to the incinerator. How many oozing loops, how much tack, what sweetness hangs from our fingers brought together too soon?

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Take each finger into your mouth; indulge in sweetness. Move by inches. Move slowly, with care, stand up straight and look around. Arrest the moon in her orbit and ask her to dance. Howl at her. Lose your center to a cyclone of butterflies and gather time to stuff back in. Bend time if you must but know it won’t unbend. Wait. Wait.

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Breathing

There is a time I know will come where I will tear it all to oblivion and I will cut the back out and lay strips of it to smoke over the fire. It will be nothing and I will come. The scent will linger in the room and each breath through the room will renew it, it will linger in the linens and I will lay breathing.

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It is a far off echo falling.  It is the bottom of the valley, under the creek.  Decomposition, the end and beginning, the totality of life; it is dirt.  And the wind is strong enough to strip wood, and it howls in every hollow, and it pelts and stings.  Every nerve is touched, and all sense is full, painful and pleasurable.  We mark our alignment with time but not with eternity.  We mark ourselves against that which is fixed.  The sun, the stars, even the moon is where it ought to be.

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I can always be forever prone.  I can swing around our star, interrupted secant, silent, until it all implodes.  I can wait and tilt and twirl and give birth to trees and mulch.  I can turn inside out, can come apart, can be a map.  I wait.  I tilt and twirl and hurl meat on the fire to wait.  There is a time I know will come, and I will lay breathing.

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Time

He was wondering, just now, whether other people, supposedly whole people, spent as much time thinking about themselves, as in like an evaluative manner. The whole process was like a cosmically immense gyred pathway; although, he supposed, it ended here, since he had just murdered his wife, so was pretty much a bad person. If a good person murders a person, he becomes a bad person. At least life would be simpler now.

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He was sitting by the river waiting for the authorities to respond to her 911 call. Guessing that the average response time was about 25 minutes out here, unless police had just happened to be cruising around nearby. He figured he would be considered armed and dangerous, but had already tossed the revolver into the river, and intended to go peacefully. Could smell her blood on his hands and clothes. She had looked peaceful, after.

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It was a spot on the river that was quite loud. Rocks and ledges impediments to flow, the water’s constant cursing at the high, hard curved, carved granite bank. Seemed unfair that not all drops of water comprising the river got to enjoy the extreme cataracts; the water at the inside of the turn was shallow, placid. Did it choose that life? Will it always hug the shore, eventually finding its way to the ocean, peacefully, mildly? All water finds its way to the ocean, eventually.

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He supposed it was how essential water was to life that drew people to contemplate beside its meanderings. A fluid composed of metaphors, compelling and calming and slightly hypnotic. Rivers held answers. He could jump in now and float away and batter himself against rocks and get caught in a hole at the bottom to be spun around for hours like a front loading washer until the flow dropped tomorrow and the river spat him out blue and torn and free safe away. In the after.

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If time is only a constraint of experiencing the all and a constraint imposed by consciousness, then he should be able to free himself of that constraint by compelling his consciousness to ignore time. To be in time is to be floating in a river from one place to another and to be out of time is to remove oneself from the river and step back and view the river as it is and the all that surrounds it. In which case he could casually stroll along the bank upstream to before the moment where he forgot he was a human and gave in to animal passion and could convince his bobbing self as it passed that spot again to skip the double homicide, eddy up in a motel near town, drink a bottle of whiskey and piss away a couple hundred bucks on stud poker. He was a rational person and would listen to himself. But now the valley was pulsing purple on the arrival of the law and time continued forward and would from now on take a much longer route to the ocean.

 

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Mud

If it is a part, it is a piece, and it is a maybe long-rambling but yet essential component.  And dry but florid, shallow but reaching, a part of the composite of being.  This dryness:  I am alone.  Extended: I do not conceive of myself as a part of the company of others even while engaged.  This shallow: I abhor other human beings.  Reaching: I lack the ability to fully engage and identify and consort with sentient beings of my specific taxonomy.  

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It’s silly, though.  I don’t not not do these things.  I’m fairly adjusted (I think).  The wind brings over these clouds, and this heavy mist, and the dreary over-saturated wet, and it gets soggy, heavy.  My boots are heavy.  My head, bowing down, is heavy.  My feet slide in the mud.  My torso heaves, contracts, extrapolates our balance, corrects and steadies.  I am upright.  My tracks are larger than usual, though. Gravity is stronger today.

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The truth of this world is that it is a scoot.  Scoot here, there.  There are no solid tracks.  The path you lay before you, it will not be. The rain will come, you will slide.  You will scoot from side to side.  You will scramble.  You will grab a hold of things which have no tether and they will come undone.  Grasping, gripping, sliding, falling, again at the base with strange vegetation in your hand.  It is the way of things and how we build.  Because we only know how to build because we know how not to build.  And we do not build on mud.

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Swell

It isn’t so much that I’ve nothing to say.  It’s muted.  I give it no sounding.  There is this terrible arrhythmia to the human pulse that I have my finger pressed upon, and my teeth clench, throbbing through my jaw, but silence.  A scream as if in space.  No medium for sound, the vacuous echo of breath in my skull.  Much of life doesn’t make sense to me.  I don’t understand people.  I don’t understand anger, and yet it is the deepest well of my psyche.  I am too rational for anger, but there it is, pumping up in arterial spurts and poisoning the ocean.  Silently.

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Anger is this thing that exudes from me rhythmically, possession…release, possession…release, possession…release.  It is the thrumming of a moderate life, combed out to lay straight and oriented and generally aligned to appear orderly.  But it is the cordage on the loom the shuttle sails through.  It carries the color, the love, fear, energy and lethargy, the tapestry of my life is built upon anger and my anger is knotted in.

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It is this weird thing to think about this part of me.  Others don’t seem to see it.  It is an invisible rug I lie upon, insulated, I suppose, from something.  It is furtively inside me, changes the sound of my tread with its weight.  It comes and it goes but is somehow ever present.  And as I tilt forward swaying when it builds and fills me and changes my center of gravity and my face is maligned with the bruise blue storm of it there like a bobber or a leaf or a tiny boat at sea I float, desperate, hauling on lines or just hanging on.  It is a squall at flood tide and rips and batters but retreats, and the wreckage is safe in the sand.  It swells and falls and froths and spills across my feet and sprays against my back and it is hell and it is wet but it ends.

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